Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year 2009 !

The following pictures were taken today. This is my daughter Ellen sending happy new year wishes to everyone. The pictures are saying...
2009, yyyiiibbeee, Love, Ellen



Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Windows 7 Beta 1

Microsoft is expected to announce the first Beta of Windows 7 at the 2009 International CES, January 8-11. But probably to the annoyance of Microsoft it has already leaked to the torrent sites (like The Pirate Bay), the legitimate version is the 2.44G files - watch out for bogus downloads.

Bloggers, that have already installed it (which I haven't), are saying there are no new features in the Beta but that it is a fast, solid and a very good first Beta.

Maybe this is just a way for Microsoft to re-package the "old" Vista, get rid of the badly published name and restart the marketing in the new year. But, anyway, we can hope, maybe they will add something to the new Windows 7 before it gets released to manufacturing - hopefully middle of this year or at least before the end of 2009.

I never installed Vista at work and have been waiting for the next Windows that can take over from Windows XP - all colleges that installed Vista have now uninstalled it and are running Windows Server 2008 --- on their laptops ---. According to them WS2008 is a very fast, solid and good operating system, even for a laptop, but I'm still not jumping.

Maybe I will try Windows 7 Beta 1 on my spare, a bit older, laptop at home and see how I like it. But I do think that it is time for the old XP to retire!

Friday, December 5, 2008

He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother

How come there is mass? Why do things weigh? Why isn't just everything weightless? A different way of asking would be, how come there is gravity? What is gravity made from? You see, nobody knows any of this! Don't believe me? Well, this is why we are so excited about LHC, the huge new accelerator at CERN. Gravity is the ultimate question. All we have are theories; maybe gravity is made from Higgs bosons? What's that? Nobody has ever seen any of these Higgs particles. So why should we believe they exist? Hopefully the new 27 km particle accelerator in Switzerland, can answer one question, are there Higgs particles?

Physicists around the world have been waiting 14 years while the accelerator was being built by 10 thousand other physicists. As you can imagine it has cost a fortune and therefore it was a major catastrophe when, in April 2008, an explosion damaged the tunnel considerably. The accident was a huge embarrassment to Fermilab, the American company that made the elementary mathematical mistake that led to the explosion. The tunnel got damaged but it's construction still continued.

In spite of this drawback the accelerator was used on the 10th of September 2008 and the first proton beams were successfully circulated in the main ring of the LHC. This was a low energy beam put the future collision of particles are hoped to be at energy levels of 5-7 TeV - energy levels never reached before. Such collisions are hoped to draw the Higgs particles into the light, so to speak. The project was on track to make the first collisions this autumn.

However, I read today in Nature that there will now be delays as the accelerator failed one of its power tests, which was probably a result of the accident earlier this year. The power test caused damage to magnets in addition to those damaged during the accident in April. A report that came out today, says LHC will not start until July 2009.

News reports claim the damaged magnets will be replaced and security systems will be put in place to prevent future accidents. The delay is a pity; but I agree with safety first. In the end it is always going to be worth waiting for. For my part, I can't wait for the articles for the popular science buffs, like myself, to hit the magazines. It will be Christmas then, no matter if it is July.

"Sooner or later, we're going to have really exciting science." -Seth Zenz, student, Berkley

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

"Surely you're joking, Mr. Feynman!"

Along with more difficult books, like "Learning WCF" by Michele Leroux Bustamante, "SQL Server 2005 Implementation and Maintenance" by a group at Solid Quality Learning and "The New Positioning" by Jack Trout, I think it is important to relax my mind by also reading more positive uplifting and human books, like "Surely you're joking, Mr. Feynman!", which I just finished.

"Surely you're joking, Mr. Feynman!" is a collection of stories from the life of Richard Feynman, probably one of the most interesting physicist of the last century. The stories were informally told to and recorded by Ralph Leighton and then edited by Edward Hutchings.

Ralph and Edward have ordered and grouped the stories into five parts that each have to do with a certain part of Richard's life, like his childhood, time at Princeton, the military, the transition from Cornell to Caltech and different other stories. The book is very well organized and gives a good feeling and flow from one story to the next. And the stories are very honest, heartfelt, exceptionally funny and actually made me laugh out load ones or twice.

Maybe some of my favorite stories include He Fixes Radios by Thinking! about how Feynman was working on technology and was astonishing people from an early age. Who Stole the Door? in which Feynman shows how funny he was and quite mischievous. And I also like Meeeeeeeee! where professor Feynman explores the effect of hypnosis on himself.

Then there is Monster Minds about when professor Feynman realizes that even though you might find yourself to be quite clever then there are always people around you that can astonish with their brilliant, quick and clever minds. And The Dignified Professor about how he spent his first night on a couch at the lobby of the Student Union at Cornell.

Finally I should mention An Offer You Must Refuse about how some offers may actually provide you with what you dream of but you have to decline because they may not be good for you. And Thirteen Times about how professor Feynman challenged the red tape by accepting to do a lecture at a local city college as long as he wouldn't have to sign his name more than thirteen times. It turned out that that was hardly possible.

In addition there are many more about how he trains ants and cracks safes but I also like very much how he gives an insight into what physics is and how it may not always be an "exact" science, especially I got that from his "7%" story. Anyways, for the complete stories as they are told by the Nobel Prize winner himself, go buy the book at Amazon.

If there is a moral in the book maybe it's to always look at the bright side and have a positive view of life. And especially to enjoy life as much as you can no matter what. This is a very good book to read just before you go to sleep because as I said it is a set of small stories that can be read one per evening without loosing the general thread. And it also puts you into a good place before you fall a sleep. What more can you ask for?

When writing this blog I found the official Richard Feynman website Feynman Online and from there I stumbled onto the website on The Feynman Lectures on Physics, which is said to be perhaps the most popular physics book ever written. So, after having read the "Surely you're joking, Mr. Feynman!" I guess the natural next step is to read the "Lectures". So I think Richard is still right when he said...

"I ain't dead yet!" -Richard Feynman.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Árásin á Mumbai...

Í dag voru gerðar hrikalegar hryðjuverkaárásir í einni stærstu borg Indlands sem heitir Mumbai, en hét áður Bombay og er ein mesta fjármálaborg landsins. Ráðist var á yfir tíu stór skotmörk, allt frá lestum, sjúkrahúsum, veitingahúsum, hótelum til hefðbundinna skrifstofubygginga. Þar af var ráðist á tvö stór hótel, eitt af þeim var Taj Mahal Palace hótelið, þar sem mörgum er enn haldið í gíslingu. Það lítur út fyrir að aðalskotmörkin hafi verið útlendingar, ameríkanar, bretar og gyðingar en flestir af þeim 125 sem nú þegar hafa látið lífið og þeim 275 sem hafa slasast eru heimamenn og almennir ferðalangar.

28/11 uppfærsla: Látnir eru nú komnir í 155 og slasaðir í 327.
2/12 uppfærsla: Látnir eru nú yfir 180 og þar af hátt í 20 útlendingar.

Þetta er því miður ekki í fyrsta sinn sem Mumbai hefur orðið fyrir slíkri hryðjuverkaárás. Til að mynda létust 250 manns og 700 slösuðust þegar Dawood Ibrahim olli 13 sprengingum víðsvegar um borgina árið 1993. Sú árás var gerð sem hefnd eftir að moskvan Mosque of Babur var rifin fyrr um árið.

Árið 2006 voru sjö hrikalegar sprengjur sem sprungu í lestakerfi borgarinnar. Þá létust líka yfir 200 manns og yfir 700 slösuðust. Þessi árás var framkvæmd af hópi sem kallast Army of the Righteous (áður Lashkar-e-Taiba en endurnefnt í Jamaat al-Dawat árið 2002) sem eru stærstu íslömsku hryðjuverksamtökin í Asíu og vinna þau út frá Pakistan hluta Kashmirs. Þeirra hafa oft ráðist á Indland og þeirra aðal markmið er að Indverjar láti af yfirráðum sínum yfir Kashmir héraði.

Í framhaldi af árásinni í dag barst fjölmiðlum tölvupóstur þar sem algjörlega óþekktur indverskur hryðjuverkahópur sem kallar sig Deccan Mujahideen lýsir yfir ábyrgð á árásinni. Yfirvöld í Indlandi hafa hins vegar leitt að því líkum að fleiri hryðjuverkahópar hljóti að hafa verið með í ráðum og er þá líklega átt við hópinn Indian Mujahideen, sem hótaði sprengingum í Mumbai í September á þessu ári. En talið er að Indian Mujahideen sé blanda af Lashkar-e-Taiba og SIMI, sem er hópur íslamskra stúdenta á Indlandi.

Talið er að hryðjuverkamennirnir hafi komið á skipi frá Karachi, borg í Pakistan. En ef það reynist rétt að um hryðjuverkahóp frá Pakistan er að ræða gæti það haft alvarlega afleiðingar í för með sér fyrir öll samskipti á milli þessara ríkja.

2/12 uppfærsla: Árásarmennirnir voru bara 10 ungir pakistanar en allir félagar í Lashkar-e-Taiba og þjálfaðir í Pakistan. Forseti Pakistan sagði í ávarpi að þjóðin yrði öll að standa saman í baráttunni gegn hryðjuverkamönnum. Pakistanar ákváðu að senda ekki æðsta yfirmann pakistönsku leyniþjónustunnar til að hjálpa indverjum með rannsókn málsins. Svo sögðust bandaríkjamenn hafa varað indverja við hugsanlegri árás á Mumbai og í dag er helkuldi milli nágrannana Indlands og Pakistan.

Annars á ég vin sem býr á Indlandi. Hann býr í Chennai sem er hátt í 2500 kílómetra fjarlægð frá Mumbai, hinum megin á Indlandi, alveg úti við austurströndina. Ég hringdi í hann fyrr í kvöld til að heyra hvernig hann hefði það og hvernig þessar hrikalegu árásir hefðu farið í aðra indverja, þótt þeir væru langt í burtu.

Þegar ég náði í hann sat hann á hóteli Taj keðjunnar í Chennai eins og oft eftir vinnu. Það hafði verið erfitt að komast inn á hótelið í dag þar sem leitað var í bílnum og tóku menn með hriðskotariffla á móti honum og leituðu hann upp og niður. Vinur minn hafði ekki þekkt neinn í Mumbai en þegar inn kom hitti hann margt af þjónustufólkinu og öðru starfsfólki sem augljóslega voru í áfalli, enda sumir nýbúnir að missa bæði vini og samstarfsfélaga.

Þetta hefur kannski alltaf verið svona en mér finnst einhvernveginn eins og síðan hryðjuverkastríð þeirra ameríkana (e. War on Terror) hófst í lok ársins 2001 hafi svona árásir bara aukist. Við heyrum af þessum hópum út um allan heim og þeir gera orðið usla út um allt. Kannski er bara meira af mótspyrnu þegar "við" berjumst meira. Er þetta ekki 3. lögmál Newtons??!??!!??! ...ok, úr því ég er kominn út í svona rugl, þá mætti svo sem nefna 1. lögmálið sem vörn þar sem það segir ekkert breytast ef við gerum ekkert, ekki satt!!?!?!? Nei, bíddu nú við, nú er ég hættur.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Project Euler, Level 1

I have been playing with Project Euler during late evenings of the last couple of weeks and have now advanced to what they call 'Level 1'. It wasn't difficult at all and it simply means that I have solved the first, easiest, 25 puzzles.

But the puzzles are fun to play with and if you are like me, playing with your computer when you are relaxing and you would like to have some challenge then go do some of these puzzles and relax.

I know you could be working but you can't work ALL the time, can you?

EDIT 8. November 2008

As they are in public domain, I thought I would show you some of the questions:

2. Sum of all even-valued terms in the Fibonacci sequence which do not exceed four million.
3. What is the largest prime factor of the number 600851475143 ?
5. What is the smallest number divisible by each of the numbers 1 to 20?
7. Find the 10001st prime.
10. Calculate the sum of all the primes below two million.
19. How many Sundays fell on the first of the month during the twentieth century?
25. What is the first term in the Fibonacci sequence to contain 1000 digits?
48. Find the last ten digits of 1^1 + 2^2 + ... + 1000^1000.

Like I said, easy but still fun! On to the next level...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

"My Darling Brown"

This morning a customer of Rue de Net in Germany contacted us with a concern. He had gone to his bank and paid an invoice to Rue de Net. However, the bank returned the funds with the comment that it could not be delivered to Iceland because of the current state of the economy.

To act on this problem, we contacted our bank in Iceland for some information on what to do. As a reply we got sent something called "Standard Settlement Instructions" devised at the Icelandic Central Bank. These instructions contained an account per currency, owned by the Icelandic Central Bank, in different banks all over Europe.

Our customer should transfer the invoice payment to the appropriate currency account and remember to place our company name, Rue de Net, as comment for the Icelandic Central Bank then being able to forward the correct amount into our local account. This is old school! This is really old school!

The current economy is now influencing Rue de Net. Normally, I wouldn't do this but I feel obligated to do something. So here goes...



If you haven't read the My Darling Brown article, by Eiríkur Bergmann Einarsson, then I urge you to do so. A quote from it:
[...] the run on Kaupthing, that finally put the Icelandic economy to the grave, perhaps for a decade to come, was caused by Mr. Darling. Now, as this would not be enough, the Prime Minister, Mr. Gordon Brown, used newly issued terrorist laws to deepfreeze the rest of Icelandic business in the UK. In the eyes of Brown Icelanders are terrorists!
What kind of losers call their friends terrorists? Another quote from the article:
Anyhow, I sincerely hope that Mr. Brown’s feelings towards the people of Iceland are not shared with all the UK population.
After you have read this article, and done any additional research you need, please head over to the Icelanders are NOT terrorists page and sign their petition. A quote from it:
[...] the Icelandic authorities have always maintained their intention to honour their obligations [to reimburse depositors with Icelandic banks in the United Kingdom], contrary to claims made by Chancellor Alistair Darling and Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
Of course, by contract, morality and honour we should anyhow, what else is there? However the petition goes on:
We, the people of Iceland, ask you, our British friends, to join us in the common cause of ending diplomatic hostilities between our governments. It is our hope that this will stop the unnecessary economic damage on both sides, so that we can start to rebuild and make amends.
Go there, sign! Thank you.

PS: Take a look at Pickles by Brian Cane on comics.com!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Cancellation, cancellation and cancellation

Like the rest of the world, Iceland is now facing financial crises, the worst in decades or even in a hundred years. This is mainly influencing banks and other financial institutions but because of the size of Iceland and our additional currency problems, it has also started to influence the general population. In the end it will probably have some financial impact on Rue de Net but it just hasn't started yet. However, Rue de Net has started to prepare, like many other companies, I guess.

For example, this week we decided NOT to participate in Convergence 2008 Copenhagen. In addition to marketing our current products, the Dynamics NAV web services NETConductor, the Hermes e-commerce platform and our Dynamics NAV and retail knowledge we were going to introduce new products. Also, we had heard (or are anticipating) that Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 will be the star-of-the-show. We were really looking forward to that. So, not participating in this conference is a pity, but we will just have to live with that and find another venue/time to introduce our new products.
Cancellation 1 !

We have also decided NOT to go to TechEd Developers 2008. I have never been to TechEd in Barcelona so I was really looking forward to it. Being introduced to, and seeing all these presentation about, the new 2008 line of Microsoft products would have been a treat. But the price of the ticket, ~2.600 EUR per person, is just a lot for a small company in the middle of the current financial crises. So, I'll just have to go next year.
Cancellation 2 !

Thirdly, I was really looking forward to David Platt's WCF course but yesterday I got an email from the University and his course has been canceled. Pity. The e-mail didn't exactly explain why that was but only that it was because of the financial crises. As David Platt commented on my earlier post on his course I'm guessing he has some ego-search setup that might bring him to this posting as well. So, maybe you (David Platt) can explain what happened? I had my laptop setup and all, as instructed in an email from you a couple of days ago. What a pity! Not really the same as the two cancellations above but a cancellation anyway.
Cancellation 3 !

The world is really making a turn!

Friday, October 10, 2008

What do I like?

I have decided to remove the blog roll from the bottom of the homepage. The reason is that it takes too long time to display it every time the page is hit. So, instead, I will be editing this blog as time goes by and it will list some of my favorite stuff:


Stack Overflow & guys
Stack Overflow
Stack Overflow blog
Joel on Software
Coding Horror /Jeff Atwood

Puzzles
Project Euler

Named blogs
Steve Yegge's Blog
Seth Godin's Blog
Wil Shipley's Blog
Tom Fishburne
Rough Type: Nicholas Carr's Blog
Scott Stanfield @ Vertigo
Paul Buchheit
Marc Andreessen
Kim Cameron @ Identity Blog

Others
Call Me Fishmeal.
Little me, big you
Many-to-Many
All Things Digital
MIX Online, The Next Web Now
Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED)

Microsoft & guys
ScottGu's Blog
Somasegar's WebLog
Jon Galloway @ Microsoft
Joe Stegman @ Microsoft
Mike Harsh @ Microsoft WPF/E
Channel 9

Am I being hit?

I have decided to remove the page hits script from the side-bar. The reason is that it takes too long time to display it every time a page is hit. So, instead, here it is:



http://abthordarson.blogspot.com has been hit times.

For further information: view my stats.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Running Within

WARNING: LONG POST (MAYBE TOO LONG :-)

For some reason, maybe my work and children are a part of the cause, I don't seem to be able to keep to any specific running hours and therefore I always run alone. As I steal the time to train, and I'm doing this on my own, there are times when I wonder if I'm doing this correctly, especially when injuries seem to be haunting me. Because of my endlessly hurting legs my spirit also seems to be failing every now and then. I guess maybe part of the reasons for these problems I'm having, physical and mental, is that I have increased my running from nothing to close to a 30 kilometers per week, over only a period of 5 months - maybe I'm doing this too fast, how do I know?



My latest injury is a hurting left hip, started the day after a long 18 kilometers run 16 days ago. During the week after this run I managed to run two ~10 kilometer runs but then I gave up and skipped a whole week. Yesterday, my first run after the off-week, was short and slow - but boy does my hip hurt today, I have been limping and all - Maybe it's time to go to the MD again. :-( Could be ITB problems, jjjuuuccck.

Anyways, a few weeks ago I got my self this book, Running Within by Jerry Lynch, a psychologist and runner, and Warren Scott, specialist in injury prevention. I thought maybe it could help me with my spirit and maybe there were some pointers on injury prevention I could use to help with my bad luck streak, if I can call it that. The book contains some "mussy stuff" I wish they had left out but it also contains some good points that I would like to repeat here.

The book starts by telling us that 80 to 90 percent of our performances come from our mental fitness, which underlines the importance of reading the book. :-) As it continues it can be deducted that so much of our performance comes from the mind that the reason we don't perform better than we do is probably because of barriers within our own minds. As individuals we should therefore try to lift these limits, which we have put on ourselves and, if we can, we will be able to do so much more than we think. "What you can concieve you can achieve". ("thinking limits", pages xiii and 164)

One of the obvious ways to become better at running is by not thinking so much and running more relaxed. The authors point out that winners of long distance running more often than not seem like very relaxed runners. To the rest of us being able to better relax during a run is something to be learnt and practiced. The book therefore provides a few methods that we could try in order to relax during our runs, such as breathwatching, facewatching, bodywatching and wordwatching. ("relaxing", page 23)

I guess when you get a hang of the relaxing part you will be able to glide - "oblivious to the crowd" - with a fluid natural movement. According to Jerry and Warren, gliding like this comes from a trancelike concentration that will allow far better performances. This concentration is a learnt skill of being alert to the task while excluding the negative environmental factors. Practice makes perfect, I guess. ("focusing and gliding", pages 110 to 112)

The book gives you two main methods for getting your intentions into actions. Firstly there is visualization. Visualization is the method of visualizing your goal in your mind's eye. Sit down, close your eyes, relax, don't think about anything - then - slowly start visualize yourself at the beginning of your run, see yourself starting the perfect run, explore the details of yourself running your perfect run and finally visualized yourself finishing in perfect form. You can use this method to visualize anything you want and the method will help to get your mind on the right track, or in the right gear. ("visualization", pages 12, 30, 60 and all over)

The second method is about affirming your intentions. Affermations are short sentences that you repeat again and again in your mind, which in the end will create the clarity and confidence you will need to focus on your goal. It is said to be important to make these sentences into sort of rimes - it will help you remember them - but it will also make it easier to repeat them, like a mantra. ("affirmations", pages 13, 39, 60 and all over)

The authors also spend part of the book telling the reader to remember why we all started running. Nobody starts out running because of anything else than the joy of running. "It's The Journey, Not The Destination". 50% of runners would take a pill that would make them Olympic champion and then kill them within a year. What a crock of horse shit, I wouldn't! ("winning is a journey", page 77 to 83)

When training towards a competition (it is good to compete, don't misunderstand me or the book) it is important to have a goal. If you put down a goal that you think is realistic but safe then it is not a good goal.  Don't be afraid of setbacks. Setbacks are something to learn from, not something to be scared of. Be sure to set down two or three goals within a realistic but challenging range. Then don't forget to visualize and affirm your goal, do your best and enjoy the run. ("multiple goals", pages 8 to 13 and 94)

Ok, this is all good and dandy, but what about my lousy hip?

The authors of Running Within claim that injury is part of a natural cycle of health and injury - well, my cycle is just too short! Anyways, the book has a few comments on how to lower the incidence of injury. 1) Plan your training, but adjust the plan fast if you feel any kind of hurt or injury coming on. 2) Never overtrain (the symptoms are described) and rest as soon as you feel anything of the sort. 3) If you have an injury, configure your training plan in such a way that you don't have pain. 4) Stretch. But if you end up injured anyway, then please, do as the doctor says but don't neglect the power of positive thinking. Injury is actually an opportunity to rest and do other things. I did notice that I was well rested in my first run after my off-week, even though I obviously started too early, I guess. :-( Respect the injury, you can´t really fight it when it's already there. ("injury", pages 146 to 155)

But during my healthy weeks, how should I motivate myself when it feels difficult to get going?

One idea is to trick one's self. Tell yourself you will only run 1 kilometer and then go home; unless you feel fine and ready to continue. Of course the fatigue, or loss of motivation, will be gone once you are out running. Ok, but how often will I be fooled by myself? Anyways, more helpful suggestions of the book are those of not placeing unrealistic demands on yourself, lighten up, enjoy yourself, crosstrain when you don't feel like running and if everything fails take a break. Following your natural rhythms, relax and keep your runs simple will help you feel better and you will be more motivated to run. ("motivation", page 138)

This is not not an in-depth description, neither is this a complete descripton of the very good content of the book, and I may have misread or misunderstood something in there. So I guess what I'm saying is this; if you like or need to read about these things, for Pete's sake go and buy the book: Running Within by Jerry Lynch and Warren Scott.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

How long does your running shoe last?


I started running on a regular basis late April this year. I had been a typical stationary person for years so I started slowly, by running something like 10-12 kilometers per week. This has then increased during the summer and is now 30-35 kilometers per week. Last week I felt my right shoe/foot plummeting all the way to the asphalt and giving some weird sound on every step. So, I decided the shoe was finished - and I have just run over 450 kilometers on those shoes. Not too much I thought!

Especially because according to The Runners Guide the average runner will require a new pair every 500-800 kilometers. Then the (unnamed) author tells us to log all runs on every shoe so that we will know when the time of a new pair is approaching. I had done that - a good solid advice. However, he continues, if you start feeling something, maybe like a pain, earlier you might be one of those runners that require new shoes sooner than the average. Also your weight and how hard you strike the ground may be a factor. So, from this, maybe my 450 kilometers is not that far off - I will be getting my new pair tomorrow.

I have had an Asics Gel Nimbus 9 (see review at Runner's World Shoe Finder), which is a Neutral-Cushioned shoe. When I purchased these shoes I was starting to run and it didn't even cross my mind that I would be needing any kind of cushion as I have been running all my life and never have I had any kind of comments on my style or had any mishaps, injuries or pain that could have triggered such concerns.

This time I'm getting a pair of New Balance 1224 (see the review at Runner's World Shoe Finder), which is a Stability shoe. My new shoe provider, owner of the only store in Reykjavik that specializes in running equipment and one of Iceland's best marathon runners ever, did a measurement of my feet during a run and then recommended I get a pair of shoes with stabilizers to assist me during my runs. I'm looking forward to seeing if I will notice it in feeling better during the run or being able to run faster?!

We'll see.

PS: I just have to add that my friend, Gudmundur Gudnason and the Reykjavik Road Runners, just finished the real,- BERLIN-MARATHON today and another Icelander, Gunnlaugur Júlíusson, finished the 246 kilometer SPARTATHLON yesterday. Good weekend for icelandic runners.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

StackOverflow is in public beta !








As I have been following Joel on Software since forever, listening to the StackOverflow Podcast since Podcast #1 and been beta testing the StackOverflow site for weeks now, I just thought I would put a note here to tell you that StackOverflow is now in public beta. You should try it out!

No secret password or anything needed, just go to stackoverflow.com (no wobbly wobbly wobbly!?) and start posting questions for answers to your programming questions. But just remember that Jeff Atwood is very enthusiastic about the questions being about programming, so be nice, leave your questions regarding OS, Admin and stuff at home.

One more thing, you need an OpenID to login and start earning reputation, voting, commenting and eventually edit other peoples questions and answers. Those are actually the coolest parts of the site, so get yourself an OpenID and start earning reputation.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Google Chrome is my default browser !

Google Chrome is probably the biggest thing happening in the technology world right now! The uptake of this new browser is phenomenal, just take a look at this graph from PannonRex:

This is a graph of PannonRex blog visitors.

I highly recommend that you read the PannonRex blog on Google Chrome: the Google OS, their Shining Chrome: Browser Speed Tests and finally the blog on the unbelievable uptake, the Google Chrome usage stats.

Unfortunatelly I can't use my new Google Chrome for everything, but it is still in Beta and only 4 days old - what did you expect!!!

For one thing, Google Chrome doesn't work well enough with Java. Take a look at this thread over on chromespot.com and this one at the Sun Developers Forum. I would guess they will be fixing this quite soon - if not, then Sun will probably find a solution.

Also, Firefox has a lot of Add-ons that it will be very difficult to live without, for example these here:
  • Foxmarks Bookmark Synchronizer 2.1.0.12
  • Firebug 1.2.0
  • Brief 1.2
  • IE View 1.3.7
  • Adblock 0.5.3.043
  • Web Developer 1.1.6
  • TinyUrl Creator 1.0.5
  • W3C Page validator 3.0.0
  • W3C CSS validator 3.0.0
However, according to Sundar Pichai at Google an extension API is very important and will be addressed next!

When the API becomes available I would guess that the developers of the above Add-ons will jump on it to get their Add-ons working with this fastest browser in the World!

PS: Take a look at The Inspiration Behind The Logo Design of Google Chrome.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

10 km in 47:50 PB !!!

My second public run, the Brúarhlaup Selfoss 2008.

With Alma and her son Marteinn, who did a 5K run.

The Glitnir Reykjavik marathon, last August, was my first public run, at 51:00. During that run I was a bit too relaxed, I was looking around a lot, experiencing my first public run I guess! But this time, in Selfoss, it was a much smaller run with only hundreds of participants - while the Glitnir Reykjavik marathon had thousands. Also, it was located in Selfoss, not as scenic a route as next to the sea and downtown Reykjavik. The weather was also better for running in Selfoss, not as hot. All in all, the Brúarhlaup Selfoss 2008 was an all around better run for me!

From the bridge, into the country, a turn and back and then the goal is next to the elementary school and pool.

Zoom in to the Selfoss part of the run.

Another reason I did better now than in August is that I competed to keep up with my friend Alma for the second half of the run. Alma Maria Rognvaldsdottir told me before the race that her aim was a 4:50 /km, just like my pace aim! In the start of the race I was ahead of her but then 5K into the race she floated past me. But it gave me a lot trying to keep up with her. However, in the end I wasn't able to - the goal reached her 29secs before me. I believe her time is also a personal best. Congratulations and thank you Alma.

The 47:50 landed me in the 58th place of 191 participants that completed the race. It also puts me in 15th place of 35 in my age group. BTW: why put me in the age group of 40-49; my 40th birthday is not until next Saturday :-)

Saturday, August 30, 2008

David Platt on WCF in Iceland!

David Platt is going to be teaching a 3-day course on WCF at the University of Iceland in the middle of October. This is a great lecturer from Harvard, and the author of Introducing Microsoft .NET, latest edition is the 3rd one since 2003. He knows a thing or two about .NET and WCF!

In 2006 he then wrote the Why Software Sucks...and What You Can Do About It, which has resulted in a lot of publicity and David has therefore been in numerous interviews, like these two at ARCast.net and ARCast.TV.

There are also some good videos at YouTube, like these:To me the best one is this one here:

Why Software Sucks: Geeks Drive Stick Shift Cars



"...they want to have used your software."

I will surely try to get to his course at the University of Iceland!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

10 km in 51 minutes !!!

This morning I did my first public run, in the Glitnir Reykjavik marathon 2008. Since April this year I have been training for this run and my goal has been to run the 10K in under an hour. This morning I completed the 10K run in 51 minutes, jibbi dibbi duuu!


Yours truly running the 10K

So, what's next? Faster or longer?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I got the Garmin Forerunner 405!

In the beginning of this month I took a trip to England with my wife, to follow our daughter back to Iceland as she had been spending a couple of weeks in the York Ballet Seminar.

Like I had said in my Garmin, Nike+, iPod Nano and Instructables post, since May 4th, I really wanted the Garmin Forerunner 405. During this trip to England I decided upon purchasing one. I got it at the airport without tax - a pretty sweet deal.

You can have the Garmin Forerunner 405 with, or without, a heart rate monitor. I got myself a monitor because I didn't think my Polar monitor would work with it.

Running with this watch is great; at any given time it will tell me 1) how far I've run so far, 2) how long it has taken me, 3) what my current pace is, 4) what my current heart rate is and it also 5) records my current GPS location.

Then, when I'm back from my run it is a snap to get all this data onto my laptop, using the USB plug that comes with the watch. Finally, the Garmin Training Center software is able to display this information like the following snapshots shows:

What a great watch!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Sóttum Ellen til York

Jæja, þá er þessu ballet námskeiði í York lokið.

Við Hjördís tókum kvöldflug út til Manchester fimmtudaginn 31. júlí.

Byrjuðum á að eyða föstudeginum með stelpunum á námskeiðinu og fylgdumst með, fórum út að borða um kvöldið.

Sóttum þær á laugardagsmorguninn og fórum á Kínversku ballet/fimleikasýninguna Swan Lake í leikhúsinu The Lowry í Manchester um kvöldið. Sýningin var frábær!

Daginn eftir var sunnudagur og við fórum á Body Worlds sýninguna á Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI), líka í Manchester.

Mánudagurinn fór allur í búðaráp, enda var ég í "stelpuferð" til Englands :-) og svo var loksins flogið heim aftur.

Svona á að skrifa ferðasögur!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Ellen í Yorkshire Ballet Seminars

Ellen fór í balletskóla í Englandi fyrir síðustu helgi og verður fram yfir verslunarmannahelgi. Þá förum við Hjördís um langa helgi, heimsækjum hana og fylgjum henni og vinkonu hennar heim. Hún er í Yorkshire Ballet Seminars í borginni York, norðarlega í Englandi (ekki langt frá Manchester).

Í dag komumst við yfir nokkrar myndir sem ljósmyndari að nafni Andrew McMillan hefur verið að taka inni á námskeiðinu. Þar sem við erum vel heilbrigt montin af dóttur okkar datt okkur í hug að setja nokkrar af þessum myndum hér á vefinn.

Mynd 1: Við vitum ekki alveg hvaða hópur þetta er en giskum að þetta sé einn af hópunum sem Ellen er í. Hún er allaveganna þriðja frá hægri í fremstu röðinni sem stendur með ljóshærðu vinkonu sinni sér við hægri hlið.


Mynd 2: Þetta eru misstórir hópar sýnist okkur því á öðrum myndum leit út fyrir að vera miklu fleiri nemendur í einu. Ellen og vinkona hennar eru fremst fyrir miðri mynd, hún snýr í okkur baki en lyftir fætinum í áttina að myndavélinni.


Mynd 3: Hugmyndin hlýtur að vera að herma eftir kennaranum og Ellen er náttúrulega lang flottust þarna vinstra megin á myndinni enda gerum við ekki ráð fyrir öðru eins montin og við erum.


Mynd 4: Hér er Ellen hægra megin við kennarann alvarleg á svip, einbeitt enda hæð frá gólfi og staða fóta óaðfinnanleg.


Mynd 5: Æðislegt stökk hjá henni, sjáiði þetta bara.

Við Hjördís erum bara nokkuð góð í að monta okkur af henni. Njótið þið sem viljið.

The Tar Pit, second blog from MM-M

As I drove to the office this morning I was in a surprisingly good mood. Even though I was going to the office during my summer holiday, leaving the family at home without a car on a not-such-a-good-weather day. But it was only going to be for a few hours. The reason for my drop-in was a meeting with two of Rue de Net's developers that form a research-and-development-group to build a general Navision-integrated-table-control.

The control is to be used in many of our web projects, to be sold as a separate entity and integrated into Microsoft SharePoint and other technologies. So this is quite an interesting project to me, being the product manager of the NETConductor, the underlying technology used by the control to interact with Navision. Worth a short trip to the office in the morning of a not-such-a-good-weather day.



The two developers have now been working on the control for about 6-8 weeks and it was time for the first demo showing that it would be beneficial in solving real problems. To show the control's benefits, we had decided that the two developers would build a traditional timesheet, or job journal, to allow employees to punch in their consultancy hours per customer, per job, per task, etc. This would be an authenticated MVC (at ScottGu's blog) based web application build with Microsoft Visual Studio and their control would be the essential part. The complete job journal functionality would be reused from within Navision so it shouldn't take them long nor should it be difficult at all.

During our meeting today we were talking about this timesheet demo project and they were telling me how it had surprised them how difficult it had been to take the control they had built and debugged and getting it to work in another Microsoft Studio project than the one they had been using when developing it. There had been the issue of how to shrink-wrap a user-control, how to deploy it, how to solve namespace issues, some problem with the MVC and the ScriptManager etc. I noticed that they were actually quite worried that I would have expected no such problems - because they surly had not. But I was not surprised at all, and started telling them about Fredrick P. Brooks, Jr.'s (FPB) The Mythical Man-Month (MM-M) and especially the part about his tar pit.

One of the things FPB talks about in his tar pit is the huge effort necessary to evolve an original Program (being merely lines of source code that compile, run and produce a correct set of outputs on the developers machine) into a Programming Product (a fully tested, documented, generalized and reusable component that is easily used by others on their own machines). And, to me, this is exactly the journey being started by these two developers.

FPB estimated the effort to be 3 fold that of building the original Program. Even though the MM-M was published in 1975, discussing the author's experiences since 1965, he later, in the anniversary edition since 1995, quotes DeMarco (author of Peopleware) saying "that there is a big expense in making things reusable" and Yourdon estimating the big expense as being "twice the effort" and FPB himself re-instating his believe that the effort being threefold (MM-M pp. 224).

After I came home from the meeting I thought it would be a good idea to write this experience down; hence this weblog. Below are four snapshots from Chapter 1 The Tar Pit. Hey guys, you should definitely read the snapshots thoroughly and then buy the book, if you don't have it already.


If you can't read this - buy the book!


If you can't read this - buy the book!


If you can't read this - buy the book!


If you can't read this - buy the book!

When I was in the meeting I said that the effort of evolving the control into a product would be nine fold the effort already spent. This is obviously not what FPB is saying, I had obviously been misremembering. He simply claims that evolving an original Program into something reusable to be threefold. The extra 3x effort I had accidentally involved into the experience was the effort of integrating the original Program into a Programming System. This effort is not part of making your control into a product. Sorry guys - anyways now you know. Again, buy the book.